TORONTO – The Canadian actors in “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” are learning there’s no such thing as a small role in the mega-popular movie franchise.
As with nearly everything connected to the blockbuster film and book series, fan reaction – even to bit players – has been surprisingly fervid, says the B.C.-born Cameron Bright.
The 16-year-old appears only briefly towards the end of “New Moon” as the Volturi vampire Alec but says he was swarmed by fans seeking his autograph when he attended the L.A. premiere last week.
“It’s crazy, I’m only in it for like a minute and a half or two minutes but I’m world renowned now,” says Bright, dressed casually in a black shirt and bright yellow and black sneakers during a recent stop in Toronto to promote the film.
Before the L.A. screening, he says he and U.S. actor Kiowa Gordon, who plays the werewolf Embry, went to greet some of the devotees, many of whom had lined up days in advance for a chance to meet the stars.
“We signed some autographs at the beginning and the middle of the line and it was crazy. It was like the whole road was a ball of people around me and Kiowa,” Bright recalls.
“It’s insane, it shows me that I can’t really prepare for anything, because I really did not know what to expect coming onto this movie, and I still don’t. It keeps throwing curve balls at me, which is good though, because I’ve been acting for 10 years and I’ve been waiting for it to happen, you know.”
Aside from “New Moon” – the second instalment in the “Twilight Saga” film series – Bright is perhaps best known for his unnerving performance in the 2004 film “Birth,” where he played a 10-year-old boy who attempts to seduce a grieving widow, portrayed by Nicole Kidman.
The Victoria native, who grew up in Nanaimo, B.C., says he was offered the “New Moon” role without an audition, speculating that he may be developing a reputation for playing disturbing youngsters.
“I play a good creepy kid,” Bright quips, adding he relishes such roles.
“I think the creepy kid is the one (role) that everybody remembers … and in this one I’m a bad guy. Bad guys are the best.”
Other Canadians in the film include B.C. actors Bronson Pelletier and Tyson Houseman, who play werewolves Jared and Quil.
Their screen time pales in comparison to stars Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner and Kristen Stewart, but even the small roles come with the promise of more limelight later in the series, based on the novels by Stephenie Meyer.
Pelletier acknowledges he has only a few scenes in “New Moon” but notes they are loaded with meaning for the well-read viewer who is fully aware of each character’s literary backstory.
And because “New Moon” and its followup, “Eclipse,” were shot in Vancouver back-to-back, Pelletier says he kept in mind his character’s broader story arc while filming early scenes.
“Jared in the book, he’s the first to (fall in love with) this girl that he sits beside in class, her name is Kim, and they turn us into a romantic thing,” says the 22-year-old actor.
“It’s not actually in the ‘New Moon’ movie, but it’s good to know that kind of background story on Jared.”
One Canadian performer, though, has been notably cut out of the franchise just as her villainous character was to figure prominently in the third instalment.
Montreal actress Rachelle Lefevre plays the vampire Victoria in the first two films, where her character mostly lurks in the shadows. Victoria exacts long-awaited revenge in an epic battle set for “Eclipse,” but that choice storyline will be carried out instead by Bryce Dallas Howard.
Bright jokes that the intense attention paid to even the most minor “Twilight” characters adds disproportionate weight to his character’s one-liners.
“I gotta say them just right,” he says laughing.